Back to Basics

It may surprise you to learn that things have not always been so rosy for me. In fact people often say I've come a long way. I think I've been to hell and back and lived to tell the tale. OK exaggerating about hell but you know what I mean.

Things were really good when I just had Biggie. I was absolutely devoted to raising him in the best way possible. I read books on parenting, belonged to e-groups, went to a monthly playgroup, basically spent every waking minute thinking about how to make him great (and he is!). I researched the best age appropriate toys, making them when I couldn't find them. I printed out recommended reading lists and endeavored to find and read every book, either from the library or the bookstore. I was adamant he would not start kindergarten until the last possible minute. I even attended a seminar on home schooling.

Then I hit a rocky patch. We decided to move house so that Biggie could enjoy more of an outdoor lifestyle. We spent the better part of a year planning and building our new house during which time I finally managed to get pregnant with Little Guy (we went through a stressful and awful time trying - you know the saying it's fun trying? well it's not after a while).

Biggie started kindergarten a week after we moved. Mr. Mee a Bee started commuting for the first time in his life and his days became really long. Little Guy was born 4 months after we got here. As much as my pregnancy was easy health wise I was quite an emotional wreck from the stress of all the upheaval going on. By the time Little Guy arrived I had lost all confidence in my ability to parent Biggie and look after a newborn. I felt lost and alone a lot of the time (my mum and a dear friend saved me with lots of phone calls). I was overwhelmed by the slightest things and very prone to tearful outbursts. The mothers I met at kindergarten helped me more than they will ever know with the steep learning curve that is school life in Japan. Even my mother-in-law rose to the challenge and came to help me with Little Guy once every couple of weeks.

It was also the year that I became increasingly worried about Biggie's health. He developed a terrible breathing condition caused by huge tonsils and adenoids. We were lucky to find a great doctor who eventually recommended surgery but not before Biggie had lost all of his energy, appetite and a lot of weight. I was such a wreck I had to get mum to come and help out while Biggie was in hospital and home from kindergarten.

While this was going on we found out Biggie would need glasses. We tried to correct the problem with eye patches and eye training but recently we were told he will probably always need glasses. I was shocked and gutted having perfect vision myself. I can't help thinking we should have spotted it sooner and could have done more ... anyway this is turning into very long post! Fast forward -->

Little Guy was a dream his first year. I was a real worry wart though and couldn't just relax and enjoy it. I fear I turned him into the monster he is today!

Which brings me back to the topic of the post. It suddenly occurred to me that Little Guy will be three in July. I haven't done half of what I did with Biggie when he was that age. I don't have the excuse that it's hard to balance the demands of the older one with the younger one since Biggie is at school all day. Is it time to break out the books, sign up on some education forums and get down to business? I welcome your input.

You can see some some of the books I have (I was obsessed) on Shelfari. I plan to start re-reading the Miriam Stoppard one, it's one of my favorites. Scroll to the bottom of this blog to see the whole list.


  1. I'm sorry that you went through a not so good patch, lucky you have mee a bee! Dont beat yourself up though, Things are what they are and you shouldn't beat yourself up, you are obviously a good mum and a great person.

  2. Thanks! I think I came out stronger. One thing that gets me through any kind of difficulty is that I am basically an optimistic person. I hope I am a good mum, most days I am!

  3. Your honesty is refreshing. I'm sure you are being too hard on yourself! What's that saying - being a parent is the hardest job in the world...

    By the way, I only discovered my son needed glasses (with a very strong prescription) when he was 6 and took him to get his eyes checked for the first time (I didn't know I was supposed to go when he was 3!). I was shocked!! I was told kids don't really complain because they don't know any different. They think they are seeing the same as us.

  4. You are a fantastic Mum!

    A wee bit of a perfectionist though. I really feel that little guy is an extremely intelligent kid and hence the mischief. There is no malicious intent there as frustrating as he may be.

    You have come so far and are quite amazing. You are definitely stronger for what you have been through and there is no denying it was tough and perhaps still is.

    Your kids are beautiful and so are you!

  5. Hello again! I realized I didn't quite finish my thought and I worried it might be misinterpreted. I meant that I appreciate how brave you are in sharing your story and how you've become stronger from your experiences. Sometimes it is easier just to present the good stuff in this kind of forum so I applaud how you are keeping it real. I've enjoyed connecting with you via Mee a Bee and Etsy!

  6. Sorry to hear you have been through a hard time in recent years :-( do not blame yourself as I hear all the time that the first born always get 'more of you' so to speak as you just simply have more time.

    Just try to remember that there is only 1 of you to go round and 3 of them (I always include hubby in my calculations as they need your time too!) I also think education and knowledge is great and goes a long way but also so does mum instinct and lots of cuddles so try not to get too stressed about book reading....
    I am one of 6 kids all really close in age (no good TV in the 70's, my mum always jokes :-P) and my mum just could not do what we do these days and she studied,sewed and worked! The funny thing is that i do not remember if my mum read books on raising us or took us to playgroup every single week but I do remember that i grew up in a house that had a happy and fulfilled mum who was always there when we really needed her. moral of the story happy mum , happy kids...sorry this has turned into a epic reply, I will go now... chin up:-))

  7. You guys are awesome, thank you. I read this posts this morning and even though I had an awful afternoon (Little Guy wouldn't nap) I was buoyed by your support and kind words.

    Sweetbeets I loved your comments, both the first and second, thanks really. Keeping it real, that's right! The real scoop here.

    Like everyone has said, we're all mums, just trying to our best each day, that's all we can hope for.

    Anon - who yo' callin' perfectionist?? hehehe

  8. I can totally relate. Different situation, but hell after the second one came along. He was very much wanted and came along easily and is very much loved, but he destroyed peaceful life as we knew it. It has only recently settled back down. Funny he and little guy are almost exactly the same age and even share a name, huh?

    People can sugar coat him however they want, but the honest fact of the matter is that my second child is far more difficult for a whole long list of reasons, including that he is simply a pain in the butt.

    He doesn't get the attention or "education" that his older sister got at the same age, but I don't think it is hurting him at all. In fact, I think it is making him a much tougher resilient and independent person. He can already count to ten. I have no idea where he learned that.

    We are all just doing the best that we can. You are a wonderful mom and your boys are great. You are only one person and you can't always keep things exactly even between then inregards to their care and so forth. They are individuals who have different needs.

  9. I'm so sorry too that you have had such a rough time. That's a lot to cope with.

    When we overachievers think we can tackle everything and anything all at once, we sometimes forget about the toll it might take on us and still beat ourselves up continuously about it. (After two years of PND, I know all about that!)

    You clearly have your values and heart in the right place with your family and it shows with your beautiful, happy kids; collaborative, loving and supportive approach with Mr MeeABee; and your optimism, common sense and spirit in the way you deal with life and the day-to-day.

    You ARE a good mum - a SENSATIONAL mum (and all round person) in fact, and just as importantly, you have a terrific sense of self and honesty. Don't beat yourself up - you're doing a fantastic job.

    I'll take a hug over a book any day.


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